Sometimes, concentration is so high, that it doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in Kathmandu’s crowded Durbar square, on the steps of the Acropolis or on a moving train – writing flows. Effortlessly. People walk by you, scream, laugh, talk, try to sell you bananas, tea, the train rocks to and fro and announcements are loud on the speakers. But it makes no difference – that one-pointed absorption doesn’t waver at all. Life feels good and you accomplish a great deal.

However, there are times, when even the slightest sound of a car driving by in the street, or someone whistling in another room of the house will make you fidget, read what you’ve written at least three times before you realise it’s not what you wanted to write. Writing is clumsy and it’s frustrating. Very frustrating.

I’ve found myself in both situations many times and, in all honesty, tend to prefer being behind a closed door, alone, without music to feel the full power of inspiration rushing in.

At least, that’s how I feel at home.

But, there are some places which seem to make writing flourish. One such place where I find peace, regardless of how many people are in the house whilst I’m writing, or whether it’s hot or cold outside, is my friends’, Takis & Elli’s, house in the mountainous area of Corinth, in the Peloponnese.

I was fortunate enough, and felt truly grateful, to have been given the keys to their home, by my lovely friends for four days, and I went there with a friend, to write. And write I did!

It was the perfect writing retreat!

I have officially started writing on my new novel, The Man Who Stole Satie, and scenes keep coming at me all the time. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking the story out, playing about with small changes and different ideas. My two main characters, Simos and Madeleine, are already speaking to me with clear strong voices. And so is Erik Satie (1866-1925), the French composer and pianist, known for his avant-garde, minimalist music, (such as his compositions Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes), allowing the listener space to experience the music, whilst being very moving, too.

Being in my friends’ house seemed to give wings to my writing. It came pouring out and I loved every minute of it, writing, cooking, lighting the fire at night, as well as lying on a bench outside soaking up the warm sunrays. I was involved in my story, albeit at this early stage, and I already feel I’m on the right track. Time will, of course, show me if I’m right or wrong, but for now, I am eternally grateful to Takis and Elli for giving me this gift.

Writing comes easily there. No doubt about it!

So, until I am lucky enough to go there again, I shall make do with looking at the photos of the view from their top floor balcony, and hope that some of that serenity will continue to inspire and grow within me.

Enjoy the view!

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